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Walking Pneumonia, The Kindest Hurtful Lung Infection


Walking Pneumonia

It sounds like it could be the name of a sci-fi horror flick. But it’s actually the least scary kind of pneumonia. It can be milder than the other types, and you usually don’t have to stay in the hospital. You could have walking pneumonia and not even know it.

It Might Feel Like a Cold

Walking pneumonia is how some people describe a mild case of pneumonia. Your doctor might call it “atypical pneumonia” because it’s not like more serious cases.

A lung infection is often to blame. Lots of things can cause it, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Fungi
  • Chemicals
  • Inhaled Food

Walking pneumonia usually is due to a bacterium called Mycoplasma pneumoniae. If you have this condition, you probably won’t have to stay in bed or in the hospital. You might even feel good enough go to work and keep up your regular routine, just as you might with a cold.

Who Gets It?

Anyone can get it. Walking pneumonia from mycoplasma is most common in children, military recruits, and adults younger than 40.

People who live and work in crowded places — such as schools, dorms, military barracks, and nursing homes — are more likely to be exposed to it.

Late summer and fall are the most common times of year for you to get walking pneumonia. But infections can happen throughout the year.

Is It Contagious?

Yes. It spreads through sneezes or coughs. But it spreads slowly. If you get it, you could be contagious (which means you could spread it to other people) for up to 10 days. Researchers think it takes a lot of close contact with an infected person for you to develop walking pneumonia. Still, there are widespread outbreaks every four to eight years.

Symptoms

Symptoms generally start 15 to 25 days after you’re exposed to mycoplasma and slowly worsen over two to four days.

  • Chest pain when you take a deep breath in.
  • Cough that may come in violent spasms.
  • Mid-flu like symptoms, such as fever and chills.
  • Sore-throat.
  • Headache.
  • Tiredness.
  • Lingering weakeness that may last after other symptoms go away.

Some people with walking pneumonia may also have an ear infectionanemia, or a skin rash.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will make the diagnosis after talking with you and giving you a physical exam.

Tell her about your symptoms and how long you’ve had them. She may also ask you about where you work and whether anyone at home or at work is also sick.

You doctor will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. She may also ask you to get a chest X-ray and a blood test. There is a blood test that can identify a mycoplasma infection. You probably won’t get that test though, unless there is a widespread outbreak in your area.

Another blood test can find an increase in certain immune substances called cold agglutinins. This test won’t confirm that you have walking pneumonia, but it can suggest it.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will make the diagnosis after talking with you and giving you a physical exam.

Tell her about your symptoms and how long you’ve had them. She may also ask you about where you work and whether anyone at home or at work is also sick.

You doctor will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. She may also ask you to get a chest X-ray and a blood test. There is a blood test that can identify a mycoplasma infection. You probably won’t get that test though, unless there is a widespread outbreak in your area.

Another blood test can find an increase in certain immune substances called cold agglutinins. This test won’t confirm that you have walking pneumonia, but it can suggest it.

Source: WebMed

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